Showing posts from January, 2022

Maus: What Next For Teaching History?

 I am a Twitter user. Not in a huge way and I mostly try to stick to public education topics. Here's a recent thread on Twitter about the issue of some school districts banning the book, Maus. It really hits home about sanitizing history. First, about Maus via the publisher: It is the story of Vladek Speigelman, a Jewish survivor of Hitler's Europe, and his son, a cartoonist coming to terms with his father's story. Maus approaches the unspeakable through the diminutive. Its form, the cartoon (the Nazis are cats, the Jews mice), shocks us out of any lingering sense of familiarity. Maus is a haunting tale within a tale. Vladek's harrowing story of survival is woven into the author's account of his tortured relationship with his aging father. Against the backdrop of guilt brought by survival, they stage a normal life of small arguments and unhappy visits. This astonishing retelling of our century's grisliest news is a story of survival, not only of Vladek but of th

Advanced Learning Survey: What the Heck is This?

 To preface, I don't know who writes the surveys for SPS; do they have actual people who do it for all departments? I suspect it's whoever in whatever department. It is not SPS' strong suit and most surveys are not written to survey standards out in the world.  Here's the preamble:

Public Education News Around the Country

Update: forgot about this local angle story via USA Today  -  Supreme Court to hear case of high school football coach who lost job after praying on field The Supreme Court on Friday said it would hear an appeal from a former high school football coach who says his First Amendment rights were violated when he lost his job after kneeling at the 50-yard-line in prayer.   The lawsuit by Joseph Kennedy, a Bremerton High School coach who was placed on administrative leave in 2015, has become a cause célèbre among religious conservative groups who asserted he was denied his free speech rights as a private citizen.   Kennedy's case made it to the Supreme Court once before, in 2019, as he sought to reclaim his job while the case continued. The court denied his appeal but four of its conservative justices wrote at the time that a lower court's ruling in favor of the school was "troubling" and that Kennedy's claims "may justify review in the future."   The Brem

About Seattle Schools' Memorial Stadium

There appears to be a disconnect between what the district is saying to the City about Memorial Stadium and what they are telling voters (likely to get them to vote for the BTA V levy). I don't think the district is being entirely honest and upfront about the situation to voters.  I thought of this as I listened to the BTA V forum sponsored by Horizon House, a senior housing group. At that forum, I asked about Memorial Stadium and JoLynn Berge, head of Budget, said that the Stadium is "just for us." As she was speaking for the district, I'm pretty sure she meant the district.  At the district website on BTA V, here's what the district says: Memorial Stadium Repair and Renovation.       $66,537,000 Plus under  Service School & Administrative Building Systems Repair & Replacement Projects there is: Memorial Stadium Plumbing.                              $1,350,041 Plus under  Athletic Fields & Field Exterior Lights & Equipment there is: Memorial Sta

It's Data Privacy Week

 From the National Cybersecurity Alliance: January 24 - 28 is Data Privacy Week! Data Privacy Week spreads awareness about the importance of online privacy and educates individuals on how to manage their personal information and Keep It Private . Manage Your Privacy At Home Sign up for our newsletter to receive regular online safety news and resources. Own your online presence: Talk to your family and friends about protecting personal information and how to stay safe online. Get started with our Privacy Tips for Parents . Hold a family “tech talk.” Learn and discuss how each family member can protect their devices and information. Send an email to friends and family informing them that January 28 is Data Privacy Week and encourage them to visit for tips and resources. Test your knowledge. Check your online safety knowledge by taking a privacy or security quiz. Get started with the National Privacy Test and Google Phishing Quiz.

Washington State Legislature Education Bills

Update : I missed this bill - Senate Bill 5735 - so thanks to an alert reader for letting me know about it. This would open a big kettle of fish. Via KING 5 News: SB 5735 would allow school districts to offer up to 20% of instruction online, without live interaction. The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Manka Dhingra , said allowing the option is not the same as remote learning. "I want to make that clear," said Dhingra (D-Redmond). Dhingra said giving districts the option of using a different method of instruction could result in more “creative and collaborative” teaching, which could better prepare students for working online once they get out of school. ”My grandmother went to a school with that model, with a teacher in the front lecturing. I know we can do better,” Dhingra said. She said the idea came from students in her legislative district who liked asynchronous lessons. Three students from Lake Washington High School testified that the new approach worked better for them, especi

Seattle Council PTSA in Disarray

 Big news from the Seattle Council PTSA via their Facebook page: Seattle Council PTA regrets to inform you that Romanita Hairston, Heather Hart, Kiani Pineiro-Hall and Brian Terry submitted their resignation as members of the executive committee. We also saw the resignation of O'Hara Jimenez, District 7 co-chair. The saying "unprecedented times" seem (sic) to continue finding deeper meaning as the pandemic carries on. We appreciate their time serving council, and understand the challenges that prevent them from remaining the board. 

Seattle Public Schools to Issue N95 Masks to ALL Staff

Not sure if district is bowing to SEA pressure but they issued this notice today which includes (bold mine): "The district has procured hundreds of thousands of masks to distribute as a temporary response to this variant’s recent surge.     On Tuesday, January 17, SPS will begin distributing higher-grade masks, including a combination of KN95 and N95 masks to all staff. Staff who require them have always had access and will continue to do so.     The district has also requested half a million KN95 and KN94 masks for students. "

Seattle Schools Advanced Learning Updates

I would advise parents interested in this topic to read this post all the way to the end.  From the January 18, 2022 Student Services, Curriculum and Instruction committee agenda:

Seattle Schools Ethnic Studies Updates

 From the January 18, 2022 Student Services, Curriculum and Instruction committee agenda: We partner with various community-based organizations from the Filipino American communit y to determine topics, curriculum, and ways to leverage community expertise for the new Filipino American 8th and 11th-grade courses. This work includes organizing professional development partnerships to support educators in content delivery.

Seattle Schools K-5 Math Adoption Updates

 From the January 18th Student Services, Curriculum & Instruction agenda documentation: K-5 Math Adoption We are writing to update you on the progress of the 2021-22 K-5 Math Instructional Materials adoption to select new K-5 Math Instructional Materials to be implemented in the 2022-23 school year. This adoption process began in June 2021. This month, we will update you on the review process of the K-5 Math Adoption Committee, the finalists to be field-tested, and the opportunities for public review of finalists.

Do You Know about SOFG?

Update: from the Executive Committee meeting minutes from Jan 7, 2022 during a discussion of the search for a new superintendent: Director Hampson requested that the Board’s adoption of the Student Outcomes Focused Governance Model for the district be shared with prospective candidates. end of update  SOFG stands for Student Outcomes Focused Governance and it's the new hot item for the Board. It was created by members of the Council of Great City Schools of which SPS is a member. In fact, the group that created it - "TeamRogue" included former SPS superintendent, Larry Nyland. The Board has been including SOFG in the last several Work Sessions. Here's a link to the overall report about how it works. Here's the link from the last Work Session where this was discussed (it is in the middle of a two-part Work Session document). 

Yakima SD Going Remote for a Week

  According to a press release by the Yakima School District, Superintendent Dr. Trevor Greene announced to YSD families today that the district schools must transition to remote learning (with some in-person exceptions) for Tuesday, January 18 - Monday, January 24, 2022. "We are continuing our struggle with staff shortages due to illness/quarantine. The omicron COVID-19 cases are expected to peak in our area next week likely making in-person operations impossible. We do not have enough bus drivers, food service workers, or school nurses to support learning in our current format. The cases are expected to decline rapidly after the peak and we will watch that data and more importantly, its impact on our staff and families closely". Again, I think if districts are having this many problems, they should do remote until the end of the month and Omicron dies back (as it has in other parts of the world.)

Advanced Learning Survey

 I saw this at the district website: The Advanced Learning department’s family/guardian survey will soon be sent to families. The family Advanced Learning  survey results will help the Advanced Learning team determine student eligibility for services. This is a tool used to gather information on students’ strengths, needs, and cultural wealth in order to fully understand a student’s needs for Highly Capable services. The survey will ensure SPS stays committed to creating opportunities for all students, including those furthest from educational justice.   Important dates:   January 19 : Survey sent out via email to all  families of K-8 students.  February 25 : Survey closes at  February 25, 11:59 p.m. Once the survey closes, the Advanced Learning department will begin to review results and prepare findings to determine eligibility. More information will be provided regarding next steps in 2022.   Could someone forward me the survey or give input on what was asked? Thanks!

Seattle Schools Levy Issue Forum

Update: Saw this at the SCPTSA Facebook page: That is NOT a large number of PTAs endorsing the levies. Most levy years you'd see at least half of them. Not sure what to make of it especially since they are all in the north/central area. Ballots go out this week.  And, I previously mentioned, the district is having some info sessions with various PTAs this week: oddly, all of them are north-end PTAs. And yet the district complains about the ability of north-end PTAs to fundraise huge amounts. So I guess the message from SPS is "Help us pass our levies!" and "Those terrible, greedy north-end PTAs." end of update Seattle Schools Levy Ballot Issue Forum Tuesday, January 18 from 2:30-4:00 p.m.  YouTube link for the forum Sponsored by Election Forums Committee at Horizon House and First Hill Unit of LWVSKC (League of Women Voters South King County). I always enjoy the forums that elders put on; I hope they ask tough questions and don't take the first answer they g

Seattle Public Schools Going Remote or Closed

Do keep your eye on the bouncing ball. Some schools are closing for nearly two weeks. Summary: Due to high absentee and quarantine rates, several schools have either transitioned to remote learning or have been closed. Due to very high absentee and quarantine rates, several Seattle Public Schools have either transitioned to remote learning or have been closed. Here is a list of current school closures and schools that have transitioned to remote learning. All SPS schools not listed on this page are in session. Please note : List updated Friday, January 14, 7:30 a.m. What Communication Will Families Receive?  If a school is closed or changes instructional model (remote or in-person learning) families at affected schools will receive an email and/or phone voice message. Once the message is shared with families it will be posted to the school website, this district announcement, and district social media channels. 

Board Work Session on Participatory Budgeting and Equity Tiers, Part Two

 To summarize from Part One, this Work Session was about new recommendations from a consultant hired by the district with recommendations on how Participatory Budgeting might work in SPS and "equity tiers" to determine allocate of funds. From my first post: The Work Session had two parts - Participatory Budgeting and the WSS Committee Recommendations - Equity Tiers. The former was led by a consultant who seems to be a new favorite at SPS, Zithri Saleem from Zithri Information Associates. The latter was led by SPS data czar, Dr. Eric Anderson. The two presentations play into each other with Dr. Anderson's "tiers" determining what schools would be part of the reallocating of discretionary funds to needy schools. I do want to reiterate my grave misgivings for the district to make demands of individual PTAs and try to take money from their fundraising. PTA is a private entity and, while the district can limit how money is spent within schools, they can't tell pr

Board Work Session on Participatory Budgeting and Equity Tiers

I mentioned the issue of PTA funds in a previous post about the upcoming election for two SPS levies. This post is to go over the discussion at the Work Session held on January 5, 2022 entitled, Budget Work Session. That discussion included PTAs and their funds. 

When Seattle Schools Likes and Doesn't Like North-end PTAs

 Checking on the agendas for the various Board committees, I saw this information on the Operations Committee's agenda for Thursday, the 13th:

Seattle Needs a Better School Board

To see a massive spike of COVID cases in SPS and yet the Board has nothing on their meeting agenda tonight about COVID is shocking. And certainly not reassuring. I will have a separate post on what their main focus is. So to the title of this post, I want to publicly say - we need people to run in November 2023 when the majority of the Board seats will be up for (re) election. It will be especially important to run candidates against Liza Rankin and Chandra Hampson. I believe that if there are two good candidates in Hampson's district - district 3 - she could be primaried out. I have a feeling that folks in her district have been less-than-satisfied with her distain for parents in her own district and not having community meetings to speak with them. Rankin's public stance on the Broadview-Thomson encampment should be a major strike against her for voters in district 1. The other two seats are Lisa Rivera Smith in District 2 and Leslie Harris in District 6. I know both of them

Does the Seattle School Board Take COVID Issues Seriously?

Update from Q13: Seattle Public Schools ’ most recent COVID-19 dashboard update showed a massive spike in coronavirus cases across the school district.   According to the data table, 704 people contracted COVID-19 in just a week’s time, including 145 staff members and 643 students. The surge in COVID cases is far and away the largest since the district’s dashboard was started in Sep. 2020. For comparison, the next-largest spike was between Dec. 11-17 at 139 cases, followed by 103 cases just a week later. Schools with the highest number of cases currently include Franklin High School at 94 cases, Roosevelt High School at 83, Ballard High School at 80 and Nathan Hale High School at 72. You can find the full, up-to-date dashboard on the Seattle Public Schools website . end of update  The Seattle School Board is having a board meeting tonight; here's the agenda . It has NOTHING on it about COVID and SPS. This despite two schools closing - fully closing - each for one day this week.

COVID Issues Heating up for Seattle Public Schools

Updates: from The Seattle Times , it appears that Franklin High School was also closed yesterday due to COVID and staffing issues. As well, Also on Monday, Lake Washington High School in Kirkland shifted back to remote learning temporarily, according to a statement on the school’s website . The shift was due to COVID-related staffing shortages, other illnesses, and absences. On Monday and Tuesday, Lake Washington students will be learning independently from home (asynchronous learning) while staff plan to make the switch to live online learning with a teacher (synchronous learning). On Jan. 19, students will return to in-person learning. Last week, state schools superintendent Chris Reykdal warned that some local school districts may need to close temporarily over the next three to four weeks. While state-mandated preventive measures make schools among the safer public spaces, a lack of staff may force a district or individual school building to shut down, he said. And here's the

Disability and Equity Discussion to be held at Meany Middle School

Via Seattle Special Education Facebook page: Meany Middle School, along with the ARC of King County and is hosting a discussion about disability advocacy on February 2. Please join us! Disability is a form of diversity so often left out of equity and social justice conversations. Join Meany Middle School for a special online presentation from the Arc of King County -- Feb 2 at 7pm -- as we explore how biases impact our words and the way we treat people with disabilities. If you have a disability, or know, love and work with people with disabilities, you don't want to miss this critical conversation. Topics include: -Disability Rights is Civil Rights -Respectful Language -The Different Forms of Disability -The Models of Disability Zoom link:  

More Details on Broadview Thomson Encampment Story

  This from a recent story in the Seattle Times wherein we learn:

More News From the Investigation of Two Seattle School Board Members; Director Interviews

There were three directors interviewed for the investigation into accusations against Director Chandra Hampson and former Director Zachary DeWolf that the two harassed, bullied and/or intimidated two senior Black SPS staffers using their "positional authority." The investigation concluded they had done so.  The directors interviewed were Liza Rankin and Lisa Rivera Smith. I do not know if Director Leslie Harris was asked and declined or was not asked at all. I suspect the former. Ditto on former Director Eden Mack who stepped down in the middle of her term, citing dysfunction (and clearly that was true). Liza Rankin This particular interview seems to have random statements but Director Rankin has frequently pointed out she is ADD and has concentration issues so that may be why.  She says she knew Hampson when they both served on the Seattle Council PTSA Board as did Eden Mack.  She says she knew there had been "some conflict" among various racial groups but she sai

More News from Seattle School Board Investigation of Two Members; SPS Staff

 I have the interviews from former superintendent Denise Juneau, Mia Williams, Assistant Superintendent of African American Male Achievement for Seattle Public Schools and Clover Codd, head of HR (and now a superintendent at Moreland School District in San Jose, California.

How Did Testing Go For You?

I am hearing not-so-good experiences about yesterday's SPS testing of students. I saw comments at a Facebook page from parents; I have heard nothing about staff experiences.  The two themes I heard were long lines and lack of organization.  Anyone else have a better experience? Samples:

More News from Seattle School Board Investigation of Two Members - Seattle Council PTSA

From the latest installment of requested documents from the Board investigation of Board members Chandra Hampson and Zachary DeWolf who were charged with HIB (harassment, intimidation and bullying) of two senior Black women staffers. (The investigation found that both directors had used "positional authority" to do so but neither did it because of the race of the two women.) It is heavily redacted so I am trying to be careful to only note items when I am sure of who is being written about. I do apologize if some statements seem random but that is how both the interviews were written. All bold is mine. The documents are interviews with other folks than the principals of the investigation who are Chandra Hampson, Zachary DeWolf, Keisha Scarlett and Manal Al-ansi. I'll start with two people who are part of the Seattle Council PTSA.